The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
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The New Deal was successful

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/9/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,772 times Debate No: 51987
Debate Rounds (4)
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I will be arguing that the new deal was successful in that it provided long term relief and short term relief from the great depression. My opponent will argue that the new deal was not successful. First round is acceptance, no new arguments in the final round.


I accept this debate and I am looking forward to a great debate.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting.

Long Term Benefits of the New Deal

Glass-Steagall Banking Act
This banking act gave birth to the FDIC, which insured, at the time, individual deposits up to 5,000 dollars. This prevented memorable banking panics and runs where people tried to withdraw their money from the bank before it was basically gone (1). This act gave the banks more financial stability and insured that people with money in the bank would not simply loose it all if the bank failed. In fact, the FDIC was one of the main things that prevented the recession of 2009 from being worse than it actually was. This crucial legislation, though passed in 1932, prevented another Great Depression in that it gave banks and investors something to fall back on. (To see a graph on the numbers of bank failures see (3))
Roosevelt also took the nation off the gold standard, which once again gave financial stability and security to the United States for years to come. (For more information on why the gold standard failed see (2))

This was an association that decided to go to one of the most impoverished areas of the United States and create a system of dams along the large Tennessee River. This association gave not only full employment to the people of the area but cheap electric power, lost cost housing, abundant cheap nitrates, restoration of eroded soil, reforestation, improved navigation and flood control just to name a few. This poverty cursed area was transformed into one of the most flourishing and fastest growing regions in the United States. (For more on the TVA see (4))

Fair Labor Standards Act
This act set up standards for labor that we take for immense granted today. This act set up things such as a minimum wage (which was not regulated before), maximum hours, and labor by people under 16 was forbidden. Think how many of these things millions of Americans take for granted today. The fact that children aren't working in coal mines anymore is a result of this crucial piece of legislation. This act positively affects almost every worker in the public and private sector as currently The Fair Labor Standards Act benefits workers by regulating employment issues, such as federal minimum wage, overtime pay and employer record-keeping responsibilities. Employers must remain compliant with applicable employment laws to avoid possible civil or criminal violations. Think about how this New Deal policy made it possible for workers everywhere in America to work safely.



Contention 1: National Industry Recovery Act

One of the New Deal Programs was the National Industry Recovery Act. This act basically outlawed competition and encouraged "fair competition," this was a major form of Communism at the time. It made business only be able to do certain things and did not allow capitalism to take it's course. ( This caused unemployment to increase by 17% and this also rose wages which made it harder for business owners to create jobs and it caused prices to increase. ( Finally, in 1935, a meat company in New York sued, because it lost a large portion of it's business to the NIRA and the Supreme Court struck down the NIRA. (

Contention 2: Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938

The Agricultural Adjustment Act forced farmers to produce less. It paid farmers to do so, but what would occur is that farmers will grow what they could and then when it came time for harvesting a large portion of their crops were burned. The price was then transferred to the grain mills. The grain mills decided to counter this fee by raising prices on food, thus hurting those in poverty once more. ( The poor farmers in the south that had been sharecropping for the longest time also suffered significantly from this bill as well. (

Contention 3: Taxes and FDR's spending

During the New Deal taxes in the US tippled from $1.6 billion to $5.3 billion in 1940! Most of the taxes that were increased came on goods that ended up substantially hurting the Middle Class. ( FDR also decided to accept Keynesian Economics which is where one continues to spend money for the people into debt and eventually you'll get your way out of the hole. ( The US accepted this policy for the longest time causing the US deficit to climb substantially.
Debate Round No. 2


I would like to thank my opponent for conceding my points on the Glass-Steagall, TVA, and Fair Labor Standards Acts. Since he did not refute, I assume that he agrees with me on those issues.


These "codes of fair competition" actually was the government requiring businesses to fix prices and wages, during a period of runaway inflation. FDR wanted to make sure that companies would not simply lower wages or cut more workers as to ease the effects of the depression. You also point out that this act "did not allow capitalism to take its course." Unfortunately, capitalism was allow to "take its course" 5 years before the act was passed and it ended up with the Great Depression. At some point, the government needs to regulate things like minimum wage, buying on margin, and child labor. Hoover tried to allow capitalism to "take its course" for 3 years after the Great Depression hit and he got almost no where. You also mention that this act increased prices. The fact is that farmers were overproducing food, leading to low prices, and very little income to farmers. These higher prices actually helped farmers make more money. Also, unemployment did not increase by 17%, the actual rate was 17%.

I will concede to you that the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 was a failed policy of the New Deal

Keynesian Economics

This is a very fascinating topic and one that I would like to discuss in another debate, however the fact is that major deficit spending does spark economic growth. While the New Deal raised the national debt to an astonishing 40 billion, this can be agreed that it was beneficial to many Americans in decreasing the unemployment rate. However, this 40 billion can not even compare to the deficit that was left after World War II, a fantastic 258 billion. This massive deficit spending caused by the war did not plunge America in to poverty or depression, but gave it astonishing growth that was almost uninterrupted for 2 decades. If one sees the effect of the massive deficit spending during WWII, one can only imagine the effects of deficit spending a fraction of its scale. However, conservatives like yourself refuse to acknowledge massive deficit spending like the one during WWII as actual massive deficit spending. This is exactly what Keynesian economics advocates. Massive deficit spending to the economy. While I would love to debate this topic on a larger scale at another time, it is central to my argument that you do see Keynesian economics as beneficial in many ways.



My opponent says unemployment did not increase by 17%, but I do ask my opponent to provide a source to prove this and until then I will deny that point as my evidense behind it actually has a source. We can see that FDR attempted to control the US economy and this law was unconstitutional as ruled by the Supreme Court in the Schechter Poultry Corp V. US case showing that the government had overstepped it's boundries into the lives of the average American. (

Keynesian Economics

My opponent is once again incorrect. After World War 2 the US was once again on the verge of going back into the great depression as millions of Americans came back from the war and the factories had to lay off their workers to retool their factories.
Debate Round No. 3



Your own very source says "prolonging unemployment that averaged 17%." (1). Also, the very fact that it was ruled unconstitutional by a conservative controlled court does not take from the effectiveness of the act. This argument is not on constitutionality. The NIRA set up precedents that led to the establishment of a national minimum wage and the banning of child labor. Unless my opponent would like to argue that a national minimum wage or the illegality of child labor are both good things, I think he should take into account the effectiveness of such a policy. It was designed to "That New Deal law was designed to promote recovery and reform, encourage collective bargaining for unions, set up maximum work hours (and sometimes prices) and minimum wages, and forbid child labor in industry." (2). You have failed to show how any of these reasons were ineffective, but since all of these things happened as a result of the NIRA, I would say that this piece of legislation was effective.

Keynesian Economics

The broad topic of this economic system is imperative to this debate, however I would love to debate this with you at another time. If you challenge me after this debate relating to this topic I will accept. I feel it is a bit irrelevant to this debate.


So far in my arguments, my opponent has conceeded in all except two areas, that New Deal policies have been effective. These included the Glass-Steagall Banking Act, the TVA, and the Fair Labor Standards Act. While the debate continues on the effectiveness of FIRA, I feel that I have successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of the New Deal. ( This website shows the unemployment rate during the 1930s. FDR took the presidency in 1933, and you see the escalation of unemployment until FDR becomes president. His hands on approach to government decreased unemployment by more than 10% over just 4 years! While this period of growth was followed by another recession, it is easy to see the great benefits of the policies of FDR. His policies were effective in securing short term relief and in putting in place long term benefits that would continue to benefit America for decades. Con has failed to prove anything, except for the failure of the AAA. I urge the voter to look at the failure of con to discredit the effectiveness of the New Deal, and to take that into consideration when voting.


Thank you


Contention 1: NIRA

My source States that the overall unemployement averaged 17%, as you can see from Pro conceeding this fact is that the bill caused people to go into unemployment after it was enacted.( It forced buisnesses to 'co-operate' by declaring that competition to be illegal, ILLEGAL! ( As I brought up in my last round that the Supreme Court found the bill to be unconstitutional by forcing buisness out of buisness. Now my opponent said to take this to minimum wage and child labor, but if we look to round 2 we can see that the bill that established that was the Fair Labor Standards Act and secondly I am not allowed to presue new arguments in the finail round.

Contention 2: Keynesian Economics

My opponent drops this contention, so please extend this across the board as it indeed had a huge impact among Americans both then and now.


After overviewing this debate one can see that the New Deal was a Failure, because the federal government forced unemployment upon Americans and attempted to use a Command Economy. They also installed the AAA which hurt the average Joe by increasing food prices and caused people to starve. We can see that the Keynesian Economics hurt Americans by forcing us into debt. We can see that the New Deal did not lead to recovery, but if it were not for World War 2 the US would have ended back into the Great Depression. Thank You and please vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 1Historygenius 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro dropped one of his arguments while Con's case was not even hit.

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